To the DPP: Come Home!
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
March 24, 2008
The election results have been announced, and Taiwan is off to a new start. We hope the KMT, which has regained political power, will correct the nation's forward course. Even more importantly, we hope the Democratic Progressive Party, which is again in the opposition, will correct its forward course and the direction in which it attempts to lead the masses.
The DPP's course correction may be even more important than the KMT's. Put simply, the KMT's future course should be the "Republic of China" path. Alas, the DPP persists in following its "Rectification of Names and Authoring of a New Constitution" and "Nation of Taiwan" path. The 2008 Presidential Election was a showdown between the two paths. If in the wake of the election the Democratic Progressive Party's path remains unchanged, if the struggle between the two paths continues, the only difference will be that the ruling and opposition parties will have swapped places. In that case, Taiwan will continue to be a "carriage with horses at both ends," pulling in different directions. Its chassis will be pulled apart. Its direction will remain conflicted.
In the aftermath of the election, the DPP must re-examine its future path. It must also decide its future leaders. The DPP's first priority must be to clarify its sense of national identity. Only then can it determine whom its future leaders should to be, and what path it should follow.
Blue camp campaign rallies were, as in the past, a sea of red, white, and blue Republic of China flags. At Green camp campaign rallies, on the other hand, not a single Republic of China flag can be found. Eight years ago, when the Democratic Progressive Party was in the opposition, this was understandable. But eight years later, with the DPP in office, such scenes are incomprehensible. Every morning the Chen Shui-bian presidential office raises the national flag. For the past eight years, officials of the Pan Green ruling regime have been living off the earnings of Republic of China taxpayers. Yet the DPP persists in insulting the Republic of China, repudiating the Republic of China, refusing to wave the Republic of China flag. It persists in promoting the "Rectification of Names and the Authoring of a New Constitution." How can a nation withstand such divisions? How can it not spin its wheels?
Yesterday's editorial noted that the Democratic Progressive Party's position on national identity is one of Taiwan's most deeply-rooted problems. During the presidential election the Hsieh camp escalated ethnic conflict (or more precisely, "social divisions") and national identity issues to new highs. Yet when the returns were in, the Hsieh/Su ticket received only 42 percent of the votes. In effect, it merely hung on to its core support. The DPP lost the election. On the other hand, fundamentalist support remains strong. In the wake of the election, the question is: Does the Democratic Progressive Party want to changes its character? Does it have the capacity to change its character? Or will retain its past character?
Eight years ago, Chen Shui-bian received 39 percent of the vote during the 2000 Presidential Election. This newspaper noted that his election would be a test of the Republic of China's tolerance and resilience. Would the Republic of China be able to tolerate the Democratic Progressive Party, which advocates Taiwan independence? Would the Republic of China be resilient enough to withstand the onslaught of a DPP ruling party?
Today, eight years later, that question can be answered. Eight years ago the Republic of China's electoral system tolerated a pro-Taiwan independence Democratic Progressive Party. Chen Shui-bian even promoted a "New Centrist Path," declaring that he would "defend the Republic of China to the death." As we can see, the ROC has enormous tolerance for dissent. Eight years later, the Republic of China's electoral system repudiated the Hsieh/Su ticket's "Rectification of Names and Authoring of a New Constitution." The Taiwan independence movement failed to undermine the Republic of China -- again. As we can see, the Republic of China is highly resilient. It is able to withstand disturbances initiated by the Taiwan independence movement.
For the past eight years, the Republic of China has tolerated the Democratic Progressive Party. It even gave the DPP eight years in which to integrate itself into the Republic of China. But the Democratic Progressive Party, after eight years in power, still refuses to recognize and integrate itself into the Republic of China. Instead, it has intensifed its efforts to "Rectify Names and Author a New Constitution" and to ram through its "Resolution for a Normal Nation." As a result, the Republic of China has, via democratic elections, voted the DPP out of office, and nullified its right to rule the nation.
The problem however, remains. Although the DPP must now step down, during the past eight years it has misused government resources to confound right and wrong and invert good and evil. It has anesthetized its supporters. It has argued that "Even if DPP officials are corrupt and incompetent, they are Taiwan's Native Sons." As a result, the DPP still receives 42 percent of the vote during a presidential election. DPP rallies, where huge crowds shed tears for the party, remain scenes in which not a single ROC flag can be seen.
Long ago, the Taiwan independence movement underwent a metamporphosis. The Taiwan independence movement once had two goals: First, overthrow the Republic of China, Second, resist the People's Republic of China. But the Taiwan independence movement has been unable to overthrow the Republic of China. It has only been able to divide the Republic of China. It has been unable to resist the People's Republic of China's political and economic pressures. It has only been able to increase cross-strait animosities. Yesterday's editorial noted that under DPP rule, Taiwan was subjected to three political curses. One. Indiscriminate "ethnic labels" (more precisely, "provincial labels"). Two. Vicious struggles over reunification vs. independence. Three. Accusations that others belong to an "alien regime." These three curses have sharply divided the Republic of China. These three curses are utterly ineffective against the People's Republic of China. The Taiwan independence movement has metamorphosed into a populist election tool. It is no longer a movement for national salvation.
Over the past two years the Taiwan independence movement has promoted some mind-boggling ideas. For example, Chen Shui-bian single-handedly promoted a massive PR campaign suggesting that the public ought to forgive DPP official corruption, merely because it champions Taiwan independence! It wants the public to believe that the DPP has an exclusive franchise on "Taiwanese values." The DPP is clearly incapable of governing the Republic of China. Yet it wants the public to believe that the problem is that "the Republic of China is not a normal country." The DPP remains mired in fantasy. It wants the public to equate Taiwan independence corruption with "Taiwanese values." Alas, a majority of voters gave the DPP an unambiguous answer during the legislative elections and the presidential election.
Even though the DPP has sunk this low, it still commands the loyalty of 40% of the public. They don't identify with this nation. They don't wave its national flag. They propose "rectifying its name." They even talk of taking to the streets in the wake of the election, of using all sorts of social movements as cover for Taiwan independence. Shouldn't the DPP forsake this mode of thinking? Doesn't it want to give up this way of thinking? Does it have the ability to forsake this mode of thinking?
This 42 percent of the public has been trained to think in these terms by the DPP. It is the DPP's most valuable political asset. But it is also the DPP's most burdensome piece of political baggage. Can the Taiwan independence overthrow the Republic of China? No, it cannot. Can a would-be "Nation of Taiwan" stand up against the People's Republic of China? No, it cannot. The Republic of China government is fully capable of defending its political sovereignty and its territorial jurisdiction over Taiwan. The Republic of China is fully capable of defending against the People's Republic of China. Besides dividing Taiwan internally, what is the Taiwan independence movement capable of? What is it good for?
If the DPP cannot redefine itself on the issue of national identity, if it remains trapped in its "Nation of Taiwan" pipe dreams, if it continues tearing the nation apart as before, then this 42% of the public on Taiwan that refuses to wave the ROC flag will decide whether Taiwan survives or perishes, rises or falls. If it refuses to consider itself Republic of China citizens, or if the Democratic Progressive Party does not allow it to recognize the Republic of China, then the Republic of China is not a country.
Over the past eight years, the Republic of China has fully accepted the Democratic Progressive Party. It has even handed the reins of government over to it. But eight years later, one will still not see a single ROC flag at DPP political rallies. The DPP continues to demand the "Rectification of Names." It continues to denounce anyone who advocates cross-strait exchanges as a "traitor to Taiwan." It is not that the Republic of China refuses to accept the Democratic Progressive Party. It is that the Democratic Progressive Party refuses to accept the Republic of China!
The Democratic Progressive Party says it loves Taiwan. If the DPP loves Taiwan, it should come home. Taiwan is home to 23 million Chinese. The name of its government is "Republic of China."
2008.03.24 02:48 am